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Best Left Fielder

Aug 08 2005 08:15 PM

Marty Noble:

Who is the best left fielder in the Mets' history? -- Ben T., Conshohocken, Pa.

How do you judge that? Bernard Gilkey's 1996 season, when he drove in a club-record 117 runs, is the best single season by a Mets left fielder and as good a season as any Met -- other than Hernandez, Darryl Strawberry, Piazza, Howard Johnson, Gary Carter, Rusty Staub and Robin Ventura -- has had.

But Gilkey never came close to duplicating it. Cleon Jones was an integral component in the Mets' World Series championship in 1969 and their pennant in 1973. But his best season didn't come close to Gilkey's.

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Dave Kingman didn't play enough left field -- he played first base and right field, as well, in his two tours with the Mets. So he doesn't qualify.

George Foster never did for the Mets what he had done for the Reds, any more than Vince Coleman's impact with the Mets even approached what Coleman had done with the Cardinals. And left field was not a one-man position for the Mets teams that prospered in 1998-2000, with Rickey Henderson and Benny Agbayani manning the position.

Floyd is in the midst of a special season, it's similar to Gilkey's '96. And Steve Henderson was a solid but unspectacular player for the Mets from 1977-1981.

My vote goes to Kevin McReynolds, the left fielder from 1987 through 1991. He was the best defensive outfielder in club history until Mike Cameron. And he was a productive hitter. I voted for him as the National League MVP in 1990.

Willets Point
Aug 08 2005 08:20 PM

Wait until Vic Sage reads this!

Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, .....

Edgy DC
Aug 08 2005 09:12 PM

All-time rankings say Cleon.

I would agree.

Aug 08 2005 10:23 PM

Cleon gets my vote.

Aug 09 2005 10:01 AM

I'll vote K-Mac also, but Cleon will get the popular vote.

Vic Sage
Aug 09 2005 02:36 PM

There have been 6 players in club history to play the majority of the Mets games in LF for at least 3 seasons (including Floyd, who will qualify at the end of 05), and i'd rank them as follows:

1) Cleon Jones - a career Met, he had a higher peak than K-Mc (151 OPS+ [7.66 rc/27] to Kmc's 142+ [6.39 rc/27]) and finished in the top ten in OPS+ 3x to Kmc's 1x... started for 2 pennant winners to Kmac's 0... had a better OB% as a Me... preferred fucking babes in a trailer to huntin' and fishin'.

2) Kevin McRedneck - see above

3) Cliff Floyd - he may end up with the best career OPS of any Met LFer, but ABs lost to injuries have kept his production down. If he has another year like this one next season, he'll pass KMc on this list, in my view. If he had a few decent years after that for the Mets, finishing his career here, he'd go to the top of the list.

4) Bernard Gilkey - best single season in LF (157 OPS+), but nothing much after that in brief Mets career

5) Henderson - decent, if unspectacular and brief (4 seasons), Mets career

6) Foster - shit, from first AB till his last.

Aug 09 2005 03:10 PM

They knew it was Cleon because they found shoe polish on the girl's ass.

Aug 09 2005 03:12 PM

I thought they were in a station wagon

Aug 09 2005 03:12 PM

Do you figure an intangible quality of Metliness here? McReynolds never struck me as particularly Metly.

Aug 09 2005 03:21 PM

Given the all-time Met win percentage, Metly probably means something along the lines of "played poorly for a last place team." Big Mac fails both ends of that sentence except for his last year here.

Aug 09 2005 03:24 PM

The Faith and Fear One Hundred Greatest Mets of the First Forty Years (1962 through 2001) ranks the leftfielders as such:

Cleon Jones 15th greatest Met

Dave Kingman (LF for the better part of two seasons): 27th

Benny Agbayani (LF the balance of 2000): 45th

Kevin McReynolds 48th

Kevin Mitchell (platoon LF 1986): 64th

Rickey Henderson 69th

Steve Henderson 72nd

Bernard Gilkey 91st

For more information on criteria,

The complete rankings are available down the links column (Look Who's No. 100-1) at Faith and Fear.

Aug 09 2005 03:28 PM

I seem to recall it was in the back of a van.

That was at the time when the phrase "Keep on truckin' " was a fad.
That year during Banner Day, some kids brought a banner to the parade that was like a scroll, supported on two poles. When they entered the field, it said "Mets - Keep on Truckin'".
Then, as they got toward the center of the field, they continued to unfurl the banner to reveal a picture of the back of a truck/ van with two pairs of feet sticking out - one pair Black, the other, White.
The security guards quickly escorted them off the field, to the jeers of the fans (directed at the security guards).


Aug 09 2005 03:32 PM

I haven't looked at your data yet, but I'd seriously question Agbayani over McReynolds for starters.

Frayed Knot
Aug 09 2005 03:48 PM

Ranking Differences:

R. Henderson69138
S. Henderson7242

Edgy DC
Aug 09 2005 03:56 PM

FaFiF seems to wheigh the fun factor higher than we do.

Edgy DC
Aug 09 2005 04:56 PM

The top Met leftfielders of 1962 were:

1) Frank Thomas
2) Gene Woodling
3) Richie Ashburn
4) Joe Christopher
5) Jim Hickman
6) Rod Kanehl
7) Rick Herscherr
8) John DeMerit

It wasn't much of a race.

Aug 09 2005 05:03 PM

Edgy DC wrote:
FaFiF seems to wheigh the fun factor higher than we do.

Good way to put it.

Forgot -- Frank Thomas is No. 76 on our list.

Edgy DC
Aug 09 2005 05:04 PM

It's a bad way to spell it though.

Edgy DC
Aug 09 2005 05:11 PM

Thomas is 124 on our list giving him a fun factor rating of 63.

Frayed Knot
Aug 09 2005 10:52 PM

btw; Cliff Floyd = #99

Other (part-time) LFers:
John Milner = #29
Butch Huskey = #83